7 interesting non-tendered players the White Sox could consider originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Editor's Note: "7 interesting non-tendered players the White Sox could consider" originally appeared on Sox on 35th. Jordan Lazowski of Sox On 35th will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports Chicago's White Sox coverage for the 2022 season. You can read more of their coverage at SoxOn35th.com, and follow them on Twitter at @SoxOn35th.
This past Friday, the Non-Tender Deadline passed for the upcoming season. In short, non-tendered players are not given a contract for the upcoming season by their team and become unrestricted free agents. The White Sox non-tendered three players of their own: Danny Mendick, Adam Engel, and Mark Payton, to bring their 40-man roster down to 35 players.
Yesterday, a total of 26 players were non-tendered, which is significantly down from the total of 40 non-tenders from last season. With the White Sox looking to add to several areas of their team in 2023 and apparently not having much of a budget to do it with, non-tendered players are a great place to begin to search for low-cost, high-reward players to fill needs.
Usually, this list is full of relievers. However, it's an interesting list of relievers and position players this offseason, with some formerly high-profile names that you may have never expected to see on this list. With the deadline come and gone, here are seven intriguing non-tendered players the White Sox could at least consider for a role on their 2023 team.
Former Team: St. Louis Cardinals
2021 Statistics: 72.1 IP, 30.0 K%, 16.4 BB%, 3.24 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 0.2 fWAR
Reyes was once touted as one of the best prospects in all of baseball, regularly being featured on top-100 lists. He was ranked as high as fourth on Baseball America's 2017 rankings on the foundation of his elite, triple-digit fastball and curveball.
Since then, however, it's been far from expectations for Reyes. The only thing that's been consistent in his career has been injuries, throwing just 26.2 innings from 2018-2020 combined and being converted from a starter to a reliever as a result. His 2021 season was the most successful of his career, as he compiled 72.1 innings and posted a 3.24 ERA as a Cardinals' closer. However, injury problems returned again in 2022, and Reyes underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May, wiping out his season and leading the Cardinals to move on from him.
When he is on the field, however, Reyes' stuff has been as good as advertised. With an average fastball in the upper-90s and a high-spin curveball, he makes a very attractive reclamation project for a lot of teams. Given that he's only 28 years old, plenty of teams should be willing to take a chance on him, including the White Sox. With the team already having some high-leverage release arms, the White Sox could slowly bring him along in a mid-relief role and add him to high-leverage situations as they see fit. Like many names on this list, he is a low-risk, high-reward player.
Former Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2022 Statistics: .210/.265/.389, 19 HR, .284 wOBA, 83 wRC+, 1.7 fWAR
There are going to be close to 20 teams likely lined up and prepared to take a chance at Cody Bellinger this offseason. The former MVP has dropped off in recent seasons, to put it kindly:
2017-2019: .278/.368/.559, .380 wOBA, 140 wRC+
2021-2022: .203/.272/.376, .281 wOBA, 78 wRC+
You don't see this happen all too often, and it's not entirely clear what has happened to Bellinger. There has been a lot written about the shoulder injury he suffered during the 2020 playoffs and how that may have affected him long-term. Nagging injuries played a part in his 2021 season as well, but again, the drop-off here is truly incredible.
Regardless, Bellinger has still been a pretty solid defender, despite his offensive shortcomings. He posted +7 Outs Above Average (OAA) in CF in 2022, and in the past, has been a solid defender at first base as well. So, at the very least, Bellinger brings a solid defensive resume to the table.
While it's a fair case to make that any team should be willing to take a chance on a former MVP, it's also a fair case to make that if the Dodgers can't fix a player, who can? Regardless, Bellinger is a clear "change of scenery" candidate that, while he may not be a great primary option, he definitely should be an option that the White Sox consider. Given that the team only has one true outfielder on their 40-man roster, they're going to have to add outfielders one way or another.
Former Team: Seattle Mariners/Kansas City Royals
2022 Statistics: 35.2 IP, 21.8 K%, 7.5 BB%, 6.56 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 0.5 fWAR
Once one of the top names as part of the deal that sent Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis, Weaver really hasn't panned out the way the Diamondbacks had originally hoped. After the team moved on from him in Arizona, he spent the 2022 season in Kansas City in the bullpen, posting an interesting 6.56 ERA/5.45 xERA/2.69 FIP slash that pairs poor results against some semblance of potential for improvement.
His arsenal is primarily a three-pitch mix of a fastball, changeup, and slider while mixing in the occasional curveball, cutter, and sinker. He features a high-spin fastball with a changeup that had a 29% whiff rate on it in 2022, giving him a true out-pitch that teams can work off of.
Weaver may be beyond his starting days after the Royals moved him into the bullpen this season, but he can serve as a Davis Martin-like swingman with some upside. If the White Sox are looking for some sort of Vince Velasquez-esque $3M project this offseason, the 29-year-old Weaver wouldn't be a bad place to turn in hopes that he can experience some of his past success in short stints.
Former Team: San Diego Padres
2022 Statistics: .246/.285/.383, 7 HR, .291 wOBA, 90 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR
If the White Sox want to add to their catching tandem heading into 2023, Alfaro would be an interesting place to turn. Beloved in San Diego, Alfaro spent time in Philadelphia and Miami before spending the 2022 season with the Padres.
Alfaro comes with plenty of boom-or-bust power potential, hitting seven home runs in 274 plate appearances last season but also striking out 35.8% of the time. Like many right-handed hitters, he is better against LHP than RHP, but he has become a sort of defense-first catcher.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old brings a strong defensive resume behind the plate. Listed in the 96th percentile in Pop Time but just the 32nd percentile in Framing, Alfaro presents himself as the perfect pair to Yasmani Grandal behind the plate in terms of complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Should the White Sox feel they can improve more with Jorge Alfaro behind the plate than staying with the incumbent backup in Seby Zavala, Alfaro could be worth a flier in an organization that could use some catching depth regardless.
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